XBRL US and an alliance of five top XBRL companies (alphabetical) – Merrill Corporation, RDG Filings, RR Donnelley, Vintage, a division of PR Newswire (Ta-da!), and Workiva Inc. – form the XBRL US Center for Data Quality to improve the utility of XBRL financial data filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Dogs and cats living together? Definitely. However, the only mass hysteria with the XBRL US Center for Data Quality is that it was not executed sooner. Kudos to XBRL US for creating this “bipartisan consortium” to address XBRL quality at the base, practitioner level… not just for our clients but for all filers. XBRL quality and subsequent database is an all-in scenario. Quality must be full market for Street adoption.
In addition to representatives from the founding members, the Center for Data Quality, the committee includes representatives from Bloomberg, Credit Suisse HOLT, Calcbench, CFA Institute, S&P Capital IQ, Vanderbilt University and the American Institute of CPAs.
“To realize the full economic benefit of XBRL, investors and other consumers must have access to accurate and reliable XBRL data,” said Barry Melancon, CEO of the American Institute of CPAs, and Chair of the XBRL US Board of Directors. “This industry-funded initiative will make it substantially easier for companies to create consistent, good quality financial statements in XBRL format.”
The Committee is responsible for developing guidance and validation rules that can prevent or detect inconsistencies or errors in XBRL data filed with the SEC with key activities to include:
- Developing unambiguous guidance on how to tag financial data using XBRL and freely available, automated validation rules to verify compliance with its guidance and to prevent or detect tagging errors.
- Obtaining input through public exposure of its proposed guidance and validation rules for a sixty day period and incorporating the input, as appropriate, in the final approved guidance and validation rules.
- Providing progress updates to SEC staff and input to FASB staff to aid in simplifying and improving the US GAAP Taxonomy.
The first public review contains seven proposed validation rules that test selected attributes reported for over 2,400 individual elements and certain broad classes of elements. Below are the rules developed by the Data Quality Committee responsible for developing guidance and validation rules that can prevent or detect inconsistencies or errors in XBRL data filed with the SEC and focuses on data quality issues that adversely affect data analysis. Click on the links to review and comment.
- Assets equal liabilities plus shareholders’ equity.
- Dates that end after reporting period end dates are limited to subsequent events, forecasts and Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding.
- Document and entity information, footnotes, tables, and accounting policy concepts must use reporting period dates that are consistent with the fiscal period focus of the filing (e.g. Q1, Q2, Q3 or FY).
- Value for element A should be less than or equal to the value for element B. Documentation includes a list of elements where this comparison is tested.
- Elements that should not be reported with negative values. Documentation includes a list of elements tested.
- Document and entity information dates should match the document period end date.
- The document period end date should match the date tagged with the document period end date element.
Comments received during the 60-day public review period will be evaluated for incorporation into final rules that will be made freely available and will be contributed to the open source Arelle XBRL platform. Anyone can benefit from this work… not just clients of the top five providers.
Do we have a vested, biased and financial interest in the success of XBRL… of course we do. That said, if you have ever attended a national or international gathering of XBRL practitioners (uber-accountants) – you’ll soon understand the importance and possibilities a global consistent view at company reporting will deliver to investors.
And for issuers? Your quarterly earnings are directly fed into the data stream directly from you. You become the single source for your numbers.